[EnglishLanguage 2201] Re: [English Language 2185] Spellingprogram - website

Archived Content Disclaimer

This page contains archived content from a LINCS email discussion list that closed in 2012. This content is not updated as part of LINCS’ ongoing website maintenance, and hyperlinks may be broken.

Ted Klein taklein at austin.rr.com
Thu Mar 6 10:34:33 EST 2008


Emma,

You have an interesting challenge and some of it is cultural. For my first five years in ESL (in the 1960's), I worked exclusively with Saudi students, including two years at the old Saudi Arabian Training Program at the University of Texas, plus three years in the Kingdom on a Fulbright. The problem goes back to the reading/writing methodologies used in their school system. To start with, even though I was working with "the cream of the crop," most of them were not efficient readers of their own language. The children were, and I presume still are, taught to read by putting their fingers on the letters in their textbooks and reciting them out loud, syllable by syllable. There were short words such as "DA RA SA" "WA ZA NA" "DA XA LA" etc. Arabic spelling is much more readable than English spelling because of a much closer phonetic/graphic correlation than we have in English. Arabs do a lot of their learning through memorization, so they did learn the mechanics of reading their own language fairly quickly. As a matter of fact, a Saudi friend from the Ministry of Education came to my home three times a week for tutoring in basic English. We concentrated on his oral skills. He used the same Saudi reading system and materials on me and I did learn to read Arabic...slowly. I still read some Arabic slowly, except for words that I see often and recognize. I mostly needed to be able to read street and town signs, so I wasn't trying for graphic "fluency." If you will give your students something to read in Arabic and ask them to read it silently to themselves, their lips will move slowly over each syllable, verifying the problem. The good news is that my students at UT, after nine months of intensive ESL moved on into UT or other American universities and 80% of them graduated, including some 15-20% who got doctorates, mostly in engineering. I also worked with many Arabic-speaking military personnel at the Defense Language Institute English Language Center for many years, where we had over 60 languages at the time. They did well on the oral aspects of English, actually better than most, but always had some graphic problems, including at test time. The fact that English writing goes from left to right compared to Arabic right to left never seemed all that important. That transition is easier than one might expect.

Side note: I have taught several Americans to read simple basic Arabic with flashcards in a very short time, by having them learn to recognize quickly. I used the same words as in the children's texts, but a totally different methodology.

Spelling in the long run is the least of your worries. Here is what I would do: 1. Find someone who teaches Arabic and knows how to do the reading part effectively; preferably from recognition, including flashcards and "skimming." Stop everything for a month or so, until they can read Arabic without lip movement; eye to brain. 2. Make a transition to reading English this same way. After they are reading English more effectively, think about spelling. Arabs in general learn from memorization and memorization is the key to spelling in English. I had Saudi Students who had literally memorized their Holy Qur'an. Don't even think about "phonics."

I know of a case with the Saudi Arabian National Guard where they had a bunch of illiterate, but very bright Bedouin troops. At first advisors were trying to teach them to read American military field manuals. They stopped the program for a month and taught them to read Arabic effectively. Next came the transition to English. They were able to make it and the program was successful.

If you are truly concerned with spelling, give them word lists within their vocabulary range to memorize. You may be surprised how well this works with Arab students. I would put all of the words on paper and audio tapes or CD's to work with, mostly as homework. Your students' high oral proficiency is based on three factors: 1. Cultural; Saudis are very gregarious and love to talk. They also don't worry much about making mistakes, unlike many students from eastern Asia, who are often held back by shyness.
2. Arabic phonology is much more compatible with acquiring English than, for example is Spanish. That sounds strange but it is true. Arabic has a plethora of fricative sounds and other consonants at the beginning, middle and ends of words and a fair number of consonant clusters, including at the ends of words, where they are missing in so many languages that we deal with. A shortage of vowel sounds can be overcome quickly using numerical recognition.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. With any international students please remember than cultural/educational/ and previous methodology factors may easily be the real barriers to acquiring English.

Ted



Theodore A. (Ted) Klein, Jr.
Independent Consultant in Language
and Intercultural Training
14456 Agarita Road
Austin, Texas 78734-2009
Phone:512-266-1801
taklein at austin.rr.com
www.tedklein-ESL.com


----- Original Message -----
From: "Emma Bourassa" <ebourassa at tru.ca>
To: <englishlanguage at nifl.gov>
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2008 3:54 PM
Subject: [EnglishLanguage 2199] Re: [English Language 2185] Spellingprogram - website



> That's great Jane, as my students are Saudi and orally very proficient but have great difficulty with spelling. I'll try it out and give you some feedback. e

>

> Emma Bourassa

> English as a Second or Additional Language/ Teaching English as a Second Language Instructor

> ESAL Department

> Thompson Rivers University

> 900 McGill Road. P.O. Box 3010

> Kamloops, B.C. V2C 5N3

> (250) 371-5895

> fax 371-5514

> ebourassa at tru.ca

>>>> "Miller, Jane" <Miller_J at cde.state.co.us> 03/05/08 1:07 PM >>>

> Emma,

> I asked my son's middle school teachers for recommendations for on-line

> spelling games that would make spelling activities challenging, yet fun.

> To my dismay, they (and their tech lab manager) were unaware of any

> software programs focusing on spelling! Recently, however, I did

> stumble upon a website that has a wide variety of learning games. The

> site is www.funbrain.com by Pearson Education. Be aware if you are

> working with adults that the site is for kids so the artwork is

> appropriately childlike. Have a plan for explaining that if you send

> your adult learners there.

>

> Anyway, on the site you can go to the game Spell Check. The game

> displays four words, one of which is misspelled. You check the one that

> you think is misspelled and you type the correct spelling in a box.

> Click on "Check" and the system checks your spelling. There is another

> spelling game Spellaroo with sentences in which two words are

> highlighted. Click on the one you think is misspelled and the system

> tells you if you're right. Another game - Plural Girls - displays words

> and the user types in the plural. The system checks if the plural form

> is correct and displays the answer if incorrect. Another game is

> Grammar Gorillas - I didn't try it, but it may have a similar process.

> What is good about the ones I tried is that the user can select the

> easy level or the hard level. Words at the easy level would be OK for

> high beginning, low intermediate ESL. Words at the hard level would be

> low advanced or higher. You'd need to play around with the games at

> each level to decide if they are level appropriate for your learners.

> Would learners generally know the meaning and spelling of the four words

> displayed or would they get frustrated by not knowing the words and

> being unable to decide which is misspelled? Feedback is instantaneous.

> Learners could work singly or in pairs at the computer while the teacher

> could be working with other learners in class on other tasks.

>

> It's worth checking out!

>

> Jane

>

> Jane C. Miller

> ESL Specialist / Professional Development Coordinator

> Colorado Department of Education /AEFL

> 201 E. Colfax Ave., Room 400

> Denver, CO 80203-1799

> 303-866-6611 (ph) 303-866-6599 (fax)

> miller_j at cde.state.co.us <BLOCKED::mailto:miller_j at cde.state.co.us>

>

>

> ________________________________

>

> From: englishlanguage-bounces at nifl.gov

> [mailto:englishlanguage-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Emma Bourassa

> Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 12:59 PM

> To: List', 'The Adult English Language Learners Discussion

> Subject: [ESL 2185] Spelling program

>

>

> Hi, I am looking for a spelling program for ESL students. Any ideas

> would be helpful. emma

>

> Emma Bourassa

> English as a Second or Additional Language/ Teaching English as a Second

> Language Instructor

> ESAL Department

> Thompson Rivers University

> 900 McGill Road. P.O. Box 3010

> Kamloops, B.C. V2C 5N3

> (250) 371-5895

> fax 371-5514

> ebourassa at tru.ca

>

>>>> Molly Elkins <melkins at dclibraries.org> 17/12/2007 2:44 pm >>>

>

>

> Dear Jenny,

>

>

>

> You might find some helpful instruction about the Language Experience

> Approach (LEA) - which is more or less what you are talking about, by

> reading about it in "Teaching Adults: A Literacy Resource Book" from

> Laubach Literacy Action, or from the following websites. You can also

> just do an online search of Language Experience Approach. There's a lot

> out there!

>

> http://literacyconnections.com/InTheirOwnWords.php

>

> http://www.readingmatrix.com/articles/wurr/

>

> http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/digests/LEA.html

>

>

>

> Basically, you ask the learner to tell you a story or share something

> from their own experience.

>

> The tutor writes down exactly what the learner says, using correct

> spelling and punctuation.

>

> Ask the learner to suggest a title.

>

> Read the story back to the learner and ask for any corrections or

> changes.

>

> Read each sentence aloud, tracking the words with your finger, then ask

> the learner to read each sentence after you.

>

> Ask the learner to read the entire story.

>

> You can also type it up and make it into a book for the learner to keep.

>

>

>

> Variations might include asking the learner to tell something about

> themselves, their hobbies, their dreams for the future, their past,

> their family, their job, tell about a photo or picture, tell something

> they do well, describe someone they know, tell what they like to do in

> their free time- the possibilities are endless!

>

>

>

> Molly Elkins

> Literacy Specialist

> Douglas County Libraries

> Phillip S. Miller Library

> 100 S. Wilcox Street

> Castle Rock CO 80104

> Map

> <http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?country=US&addtohistory=&formtype=

> address&searchtype=address&cat=&address=100%20S%20Wilcox%20St&city=Castl

> e%20Rock&state=CO&zipcode=80104%2d1911&search=Get%2bMap>

> Phone: (303)791-READ

> Email: melkins at dclibraries.org

> Web: www.DouglasCountyLibraries.org

> <http://www.douglascountylibraries.org/>

>

> ________________________________

>

> From: englishlanguage-bounces at nifl.gov

> [mailto:englishlanguage-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Jennifer Hubler

> Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2007 1:02 PM

> To: EnglishLanguage at nifl.gov

> Subject: [EnglishLanguage 1977] reading, writing,conversation and

> independence

>

>

>

> The ideas you're all sharing are great-I'm learning many ways to improve

> my instruction.

>

>

>

> I am new to this job and subject (3 months). I have a small, fairly new

> program (one year) with learners in small groups (3-5) with volunteer

> tutors. They are very dependent on their workbooks and textbooks, and

> prefer to go lock-step through the lessons. I'm coaching the tutors and

> students about skipping lessons or segments that are not relevant or

> appropriate. I want to introduce some creative writing and more

> conversation. Any ideas about writing that won't be too intimidating for

> tutors and students? I made up a story with one student using his

> vocabulary words. I wrote, he dictated, and we took turns making up

> sentences. He read it fluently after hearing me read, then reading with

> me, then practicing once on his own. How do I teach the tutors to do

> this? And how do we introduce more conversation that is relevant and

> interesting to folks who have depended exclusively on curriculum texts?

> I think both need to start with building the tutors' familiarity, skills

> and comfort level with the processes and expectations.

>

>

>

> Jenny Hubler, Adult Literacy Coordinator

>

>

>

> The Women's Center

>

> 1723 Hemphill

>

> Fort Worth, TX 76110

>

>

>

> 817-927-4040 x262

>

> jhubler at womenscenter.info

>

>

>

>

> ----------------------------------------------------

> National Institute for Literacy

> Adult English Language Learners mailing list

> EnglishLanguage at nifl.gov

> To unsubscribe or change your subscription settings, please go to http://www.nifl.gov/mailman/listinfo/englishlanguage

> Email delivered to taklein at austin.rr.com

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lincs.ed.gov/pipermail/englishlanguage/attachments/20080306/e8707bea/attachment.html
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 9548 bytes
Desc: not available
Url : http://lincs.ed.gov/pipermail/englishlanguage/attachments/20080306/e8707bea/attachment.jpe